In 1897, a Swedish engineer Salomon Andrée ventured to reach the North Pole for the second time in his balloon Eagle. His project was co-financed by Alfred Nobel and he took along physicist Knut Fraenkel and a young photographer Nils Strindberg.
The balloon, filled with hydrogen and equipped with hanging ropes to keep altitude and to allow at least partial steer ability, took off from the Danish Island. After a two and a half days flight to the Pole it was forced to descend north of Spitsbergen, due to the weight of thick icing. Balloonists, who were not equipped for such a contingency, had no other chance but to strive to save themselves by returning to the dry land (Spitsbergen) walking on ice floes. However, because of the polar drift the unfortunate trio was uncontrollably carried elsewhere. Except three messages brought by homing pigeons and found in containers thrown to water before their balloon descended, the world had no information of Andrée´s expedition for full 33 years...
In 1930, thanks to an extraordinary favourable ice conditions, a Norwegian whaling ship reached the shores of otherwise inaccessible White Island, and there the crew found remains of the expedition members and remnants from their camp (diary, photographic plates, parts of their outfit and gear). Here they perished one by one after an almost three month long exhausting march under strange and never clarified circumstances - lunacy, the voluntary death of the last survivor, Fraenkel, before the polar night had come.
There are ethical question marks: - the older, experienced and still single Andrée certainly must have realised during preparations how ill conceived, immensely risky and virtually hopeless his intention was. Yet he - perhaps resolved to die for the sake of science - took along to an almost certain death other two young people who had the absolute trust in him. Strindberg´s fiancée waited for him faithfully for the rest of her life...
Salomon August Andrée
(1854 - 1897, missing till 1930)
start balonu Svea, Goteborg (1894)
základna Andréeových pokusů:
Virgohamna na Dánském ostrově
hangár na Dánském ostrově (1897)
přípravy ke startu
Strindberg testuje svůj fotoaparát
před startem (1897)
po startu (1897)
let Orla končí asi 700 km
od severního pólu (1897)
tábor na kře, vlevo gondola (1897)
Fraenkel a Strindberg u zabitého ledního medvěda (1897)
Strindberg během zpátečního pochodu
tábor na ledové kře (1897)
Peder Eliassen (vpravo), kapitán
velrybářské lodě Bratvaag (1930)
některé předměty Andréeovy výpravy nalezené na Bílém ostrově (1930)
zbytky plynových přístrojů na výrobu
vodíku na Dánském ostrově